During the past few years, B2B companies have been expected to drive continuous growth. So everyone’s instincts were to figure out what technologies they could add to their tech stack to unlock that growth. The resulting tech sprawl only got worse when Covid moved sales teams out of the bullpen and onto Zoom. Because companies lost visibility into the sales process, they made overlapping investments in technology to cope with this new, unfamiliar world of remote work.
Companies spent a lot of time cobbling requests together — their reps wanted conversation intelligence, leaders wanted forecasting, they wanted better territory management…and they gave everyone what they wanted.
That’s how the world ran. Everyone spent a lot of money to make a lot of money.
That world does not exist today. The conversation has effectively shifted from growth (at all costs) to meaningful growth. Profitable, responsible, predictable growth. If organizations are going to survive an economic downturn, they need to have more money coming in than going out.
As companies tighten belts, eliminating redundancies and inefficiencies in your tech stack is critical. Below I’ll share:
How revenue leaders are reacting to the current economic climate
How to determine which tools to consolidate
Common mistakes companies make when buying new tools
The difference between point solutions and a sales execution platform
Where Outreach fits in the go-to-market organization
How to plan for long-term profitability
Companies are doing a few things to address the current economic downturn:
Examine burn rate. Private companies are looking at how much cash they have and how they will ensure profitability or develop a clear plan to get there. Public companies are basing market valuation earnings on margin right now— not growth.
Reduce spend. Companies are laser-focused on how to curb spending, while keeping growth rates steady. For example, sales and marketing teams are likely under pressure to bring expenses closer to 35% of revenue rather than a previously acceptable 50% to 60%.
Make teams more efficient. Companies are trying to improve productivity with the teams they have while decreasing their overall expense.
That’s what everyone in the market is trying to do right now, including us. It’s also why taking a critical look at your tech stack to make sure you have the right tools to drive efficiency and lower costs is so important right now.
When considering how to protect your organization against a recession, the last thing you want to do is reduce people. People are your most important asset. Efficient and data-driven people who use the most effective sales technology will power your organization through any market turbulence. Instead, you need to focus on your tech stack spend. Here are some questions to kick off your investigation:
How do I boost productivity and efficiency at every stage of the funnel with my current tech stack?
- Are my sales teams meeting their pipeline targets? If not, why?
- Are we closing enough deals? If not, why?
- Is my forecast accurate and based on data, not gut instinct?
With those priorities in mind, be super critical of the purpose and effectiveness of the tools your organization uses. Ask:
Are any of them redundant or duplicative?
Where am I lacking visibility?
How often are my teams using these tools?
Are multiple teams using the data or insights from these tools, or do they operate in a silo?
Once you're able to measure the effectiveness of your existing tech stack, you can make an informed decision on whether or not it makes sense to consolidate your point solutions for one platform that solves all of your organization's needs.
If you don’t choose, implement, and manage your sales tech wisely, you’re far more likely to see decreased productivity and increased costs. Here are some common mistakes we see companies make when purchasing new technology:
They only consider their current state instead of aligning to the organization’s forward-looking roadmap.
They don’t document or properly resource a path to tech adoption or maturity.
Failing to measure the impact of multiple solutions on employee productivity and experience.
Just because you buy a solution, doesn’t mean your teams are going to use it or that it’s the right durable solution for your organization.
CRMs did a great job at helping organizations move customer databases into the digital world — in the same way car phones decoupled connectivity from landlines. Unfortunately, time has proven that CRMs weren’t made for sellers, so don’t make the mistake of consolidating your sales tech stack on your system of record.
Instead, let’s talk about how consolidating your tech stack for a sales execution platform benefits both sellers and revenue leaders.
Organizations looking for productivity and efficiency gains, while still navigating the complexity of evolving buying teams and digital sales, need a platform that’s built for entire go-to-market teams. Sales execution platforms are a centralized home for sellers to manage their pipeline from creation to close, and for revenue leaders to gain insight into every interaction across the revenue journey. The unified data model provides a holistic view into customer journeys, and advanced machine learning gives teams the ability to proactively address risk and assess the impact of their efforts.
When I look at tool consolidation, I want to take three things and make them one. But I want the vendor who understands the user experience and has built a workflow and roadmap that demonstrates their continued commitment.
That’s when I’m willing to consolidate — if our strategic vision and theirs align, and I know they can actually help our sellers be more efficient, impactful, and focused on doing what they do best. Bringing something on board that I know will be adopted and makes users’ lives easier is the key to efficiency.
Unlike a system of record or point solution, which can distract sellers from actually selling and create restricting data silos, the Outreach Sales Execution Platform is an end-to-end system of action that allows users to manage, automate, and optimize sales activities across the three phases of a deal cycle: prospecting, deal management, and forecasting.
That’s why it’s a no-brainer when it comes to consolidating your tech stack and using Outreach for every stage of the revenue cycle.
The Outreach Sales Execution Platform is the only platform that can:
Boost efficiency at every stage of the funnel
Optimize technology/SaaS spend
Increase seller productivity
Deliver real-time insights across the revenue funnel, including the ability to scenario plan as things change
Everything you need — pipeline generation, deal management, and revenue forecasting — is all under one roof.
The Outreach Sales Execution Platform, with embedded automation and artificial intelligence (AI), helps every member of the revenue team — from the top sales leader to post-sales personnel and everyone in between —dramatically increase their efficiency and effectiveness. The platform works in concert with an organization’s CRM to develop a more thorough and accurate customer data set to drive actionable insights.
Here’s an example. Every lead that meets your lead scoring model is triggered in Outreach, so your speed-to-lead is optimized with an automated first-touch prior to your personalized follow-up.
As you’re testing messaging and channels, you get feedback on which personas are responding positively and moving through your top-of-funnel, along with what’s resonating about your messaging.
As you evaluate trends you’re able to prioritize lead development and rep efforts, ensuring they use data to prioritize high-propensity leads every day. Then, as you evaluate programs and marketing spend at a regular cadence, you can easily assess which efforts led to not just the most leads, but the most qualified pipeline.
Reps manage contacts and opportunities in Outreach, so their engagements are automatically logged and their pipeline is always up-to-date. This way, our front-line managers aren’t spinning cycles chasing down updates on deals for senior leadership before forecast calls, they’re coaching reps and using proven plays to win avoidable losses.
Our AI-driven virtual assistant, Kaia, helps sellers convert meetings into meaningful conversations, and conversations into more pipeline by joining sales calls and guiding sellers live during the call. All the while, Kaia is also creating a transcript and recommending action items, increasing follow-up, and providing revenue leaders with insight into what’s being said.
The final piece to this puzzle is the beast that is forecasting. Really, all of this unified data and real-time visibility is for me — and our C-suite. I run the forecast and commit call for our revenue organization, and what used to wake me up at 2 a.m. is now what I dream about. With Outreach, I can easily see across our entire pipeline what’s changed, what’s moving or off-track, and it’s all based on reality. If I want to drill into individual opportunities, the deal health score leverages everything that I’ve outlined above to give me an idea of where the risk is. And I have that visibility without needing a data or analytics person. So I’m reducing technology spend because I’m not paying for additional point solutions or using valuable data science resources to chase down data.
With Outreach, I can launch an initiative on Tuesday, and by Friday I can already gauge:
Points of failure/weakness
Unlike Covid, where uncertainty was followed by periods of unexpected growth, this downturn is more like those we’ve seen in previous cycles. The snap decisions we made in 2020 shouldn’t be the way we approach this storm. The organizations that came out on top after previous volatility focused on efficiency gains. When the market stabilized, they came out swinging.
So be thoughtful as you consolidate your tech stack. Growing profitably is a long-term game.
If you play the long game and make those measured decisions now, you’ll make investments that are right for your business and will stand the test of time. If the vendors you’re consolidating on are strategic, long-term partners that also unlock productivity and efficiency now, then you’re setting yourself up for success.
Request a demo to learn more about how the Outreach Sales Execution Platform can help you save money and maintain revenue predictability now.